The world is increasingly getting sophisticated. There are various technological advancements taking place that have helped improve various sectors in the world. Supply chain management is one of the best beneficiaries of these technological advancements.
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The process of handling goods from one place to another has improved, as the world embraces this new technology. The geographical barrier that existed before has completely been eliminated.
It is now possible for an American company to make its productions in China and sell the products in South Africa (Staake & Fleisch 2008, p. 29). The three regions are worlds apart, but with the advanced technology, this is very possible.
The advancement in technology has not only brought benefits to the society. It has also brought about a number of problems with it. One of the biggest problems that this invention has brought about is the emergence of counterfeit products.
The world market has become very complex and firms are struggling to maintain market competition. In order to come out successful in this market, it forces firms to be creative in all that they do. They have to be innovative if they expect to manage this competition.
Other firms are taking advantage of this to rob other firms. They come up with counterfeit products that are similar to the original product and make money out of the same. This is not only a criminal act, but very unfair in a world that is very competitive (Arlbjorn 2010, p. 87).
Some of these counterfeit products have made customers loose trust in the original product because the counterfeit will most certainly lack all the features of the original products. Counterfeit products have made some firms to suffer huge losses in various ways.
It is on this basis that scholars in the field of supply chain management have thought it wise to come up with mechanisms through which it can counter counterfeit products. Just like the original products, counterfeit products have a clear channel of distribution that makes the product reach the intended customer.
These products can be detected during their exportation or importation stage. Supply chain management can help counter the products at these stages and help avoid cases that would lead to serious losses to the company. This research paper focuses on the role of supply chain management in countering importation and exportation of counterfeit products.
Given the above background, it is clear that there is an urgent need for counterfeit products to be eliminated within the business world. It is important that importation and exportation of counterfeit products be eliminated as a way improving business environment.
In this research proposal, the researcher’s main aim is to come up with mechanisms through which counterfeit products can be eliminated with the help of supply chain management. The researcher will be trying to explain that supply chain management has a big role in helping counter counterfeit products in the market.
This research does not dismiss the fact that other processes and mechanisms can be used to counter counterfeit products. However, it proposes that supply chain stands a better chance of countering the counterfeit products, especially when they are imported into a country, or during their exportation.
The following are some of the specific objectives that the researcher seeks to achieve by the end of this research.
- To explain the possible path that is always taken by counterfeit products, from their point of manufacture to the point of sale.
- To identify and explain the main players involved in the delivery of the counterfeit products in the world market.
- To bring a clear understanding, the role of the various agencies in encouraging movement of counterfeit products.
- To explicitly explain the role of supply chain management in detecting and appropriately responding to the counterfeit products.
Justification of the Research
The world today depends of commerce. Commerce runs the world. There is millions of multinational firms operation in hundreds of industries across the globe. Other then the need to have a peaceful world devoid of wars, the most important tie that binds one country and another is trade.
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Trade is the backbone of all nations across the world. It is therefore important that an environment for conducting business is made as peaceful as possible. Firms must respect one another within the business environment. There must be laws and regulations that helps guide the business world.
Firms must know how they relate to one another. The relationship must be mutual and respectful. It is therefore very unfortunate that some firms are using dubious means to benefit themselves at the expense of other firms.
There are firms which take advantage of the advancement of technology to produce counterfeit products. This is a criminal offence. Stealing of someone’s knowledge in the business world can result in serious complications not only to the criminal, but also to other players.
The talent will be killed because the individuals concerned with coming up with the knowledge ends up not benefiting. Their knowledge will end up benefiting other individuals who may not have taken part in developing this knowledge. Such vices should therefore be stopped.
All mechanisms should be used to ensure that such criminal acts are arrested before they can cause damage to the concerned parties. Given that these products always undergo the normal supply chain before reaching the target customer, the best strategy to counter this vice is through supply chain management.
This is what this research seeks to investigate. Through this research, it will be clear how supply chain can be used to counter fraud such as this.
Scope of the Research
It is always important to state the scope of research. This way, it is possible to state the extent to which a given research can be applied. Research is very important because it helps develop the body of knowledge available. It helps explain some phenomena that may be challenging in the society.
It is always necessary to state the extent to which a piece of research can be applied to avoid unnecessary criticism. This research is conducted in the United Kingdom. The scope of this research is therefore limited to this country, or a country with a similar external environment.
Although this piece of research may be useful in helping counter counterfeit products in the global market, it is a fact that there are environmental factors that makes this country unique from other countries. For instance, the society of Saudi Arabia has a lot of difference from that of United Kingdom.
It would be prudent that anyone who uses this research understands this fact in order to determine the best way in which this research will be applicable.
The researcher will collect data from a number of companies within the United Kingdom. The research will be collected from a number of respondents in selected firm within the country.
This chapter will focus on various aspects of research development. It includes methods of data collection, its analysis and presentation procedures. Every research project applies a certain research method to achieve its objectives depending on its goals.
The methods that will be used to conduct research in this project will compare closely with the methods proposed in this project proposal (Anderson, 2004). This is so because the project proposal must be proven to be workable.
In research, design deals primarily with aims, uses, purposes, intentions, and plans within the practical constraints of time, location, money, and availability of respondent (Hakim, 2000).
In this study, respondents will be briefed in advance. This is necessary to ensure that respondents are prepared psychologically for the task ahead. This will also help in ensuring that response is given in time to allow timely analysis. The selected sample group will be given relevant notice by the researcher.
The study population will also be amicably informed in order to get prepared for the study. Briefing is important because it will enhance reliability of the study. It is also ethical to inform people before researching on them (Badenhorst, 2007).
The findings will also make public to the researched as one way of ensuring morality in the study. Furthermore, the researcher will observe researcher-researched ethics by keeping away from criticism.
This chapter also focuses on the literature review as one of the methods that will be used in collection of secondary sources of information. It gives the reason why literature review was used as a method to collect data.
The chapter gives an overview of the purpose of collecting and analyzing data and the basic questions used to gather the desired responses.
The chapter brings back the research hypotheses. This is important because it is at this stage that the researcher goes into the field to gather information. It is therefore necessary that the research hypotheses are brought to focus because they will be the guiding light in the process of gathering data (Baily, 1996).
The researcher will be trying to confirm the hypotheses. In order to eliminate criticism, this chapter clearly states the scope of the study. There are limits beyond which this research may not hold because of the method used in data collection and analysis.
It is therefore important that limitations are clearly stated to make it clear to readers of this material how far this research reveals what it purports to.
Since the main method of data collection will be primary source, the questionnaire will be the main instrument to be used to collect data. This chapter brings out the questionnaire format, reasons for choosing this format, its advantages and disadvantages.
In a research process, sampling is very important because certain population can be too big to facilitate a study of the whole population (Bell, 2001). This chapter will look at importance of research design, methods of sampling, giving their advantages and disadvantages, and the determination of the sample size.
Also discussed in this chapter is the data analysis technique. In so doing, the researcher hopes to bring to focus the channel through which data will be collected.
This is not only meant to bring clarity to this research but also help young researchers who will be interested in furthering research in this field to know the steps necessary to reach the desired results in a given research.
The researcher has ensured that the methodology is not only important to the professionals in the supply chain sector, but also to other related sectors such as insurance, marketing, finance among others.
Literature Review Techniques
Research has been with us for a very long period. Life is full of phenomena that need more investigation to be made clearer. On broader terms, there is a pure science and social science research. Pure science deals with specimen in a controlled environment, especially in a laboratory.
On the contrary, social science is based on humans as a social being. Unlike the specimen used in pure sciences that can be manipulated by putting some factors constant, it is practically impossible to put humans under controlled conditions (Struwig, 2001).
The researcher must therefore devise methods that would enable him or her gather the desired data in society as it is, without making any of the factors remaining constant.
According to Struwig (2001), if assumptions are made, which is always the case, a remedy must be put which will counter the assumption, or there should be an explanation on how the scenario will be if the assumption was not made and what could be the effects if assumptions are made.
Because of its importance, many scholars have continuously done research on various fields in order to find an explanation or a solution to a social problem in the society. For this matter therefore, many researchers always find themselves sandwiched in between a vast volume of previous research that are closely related to what he or she has developed interest to research on.
As Wickham (1999) puts it, it is unethical for a researcher to reproduce what another researcher generated. The essence of a research is to come up with a finding that other researchers have not established or develop the findings of other researchers.
It is only through this that a research would have meaning to any field of study. This would demand that a researcher takes time to review what other researchers have done in a particular field that is related to what he or she is about to conduct a study on.
Format for the Questionnaire
There were two key methods used to gather information in this dissertation. The first one was through a questionnaire, which was physically delivered to the selected sample population within the United Kingdom in selected firms.
The questionnaire sought to capture various attitudes of the sample population in regard to the research topic. The second source of information used for the research was literature on various aspects of supply chain management in general, and the operational activities that take place within this field that can help in countering counterfeit products in specific.
The focus of the literature review was to find information on the application of motivation techniques within the workplace and also to determine the current state of research in relation to the issue at hand. The questionnaire had four parts.
The first part sought to capture the background information of respondents.
The second part dealt with the demography and gender of the respondents. This was to ascertain the prevalence of views in various categories in order to ensure that if any differences came about, then they would be captured in their demographic space.
The third part dealt with academic credentials and work experience of the respondents. The motivation for this section came from the understanding that different sections of population respond differently to issues, based on age and academic credentials.
The fourth part delved into the specific issues relating to factors that encourage the movement of counterfeit products, and how supply chain management can be used to counter these products both at the export stage and during their importation.
The questionnaire also employed a mix of open and closed ended questions to capture different aspects of issues studied. Open ended questions were used because they give respondents more time to figure out their opinions, which would make them volunteer more information related to feelings, outlooks and comprehension of the subject (Murray, 2006).
This would allow a researcher to understand the position of respondents as regards to feelings. Open ended questions minimize some errors that could have been created in the course of research. Respondents rarely forget answers if given an opportunity to respond freely.
Furthermore, respondents cannot ignore some questions because they must go through all of them. Open ended questions generate data that can be used in data analysis by other researchers. In other words, they allow secondary data analysis.
On the other hand, closed-ended questions are analyzed easily. That is why they were used in this study (Taylor, 2005).
Each response can be coded for statistical interpretation. Nonetheless, closed-ended questions are compatible with computer analysis package. The technique is more specific meaning that its answers are consistent in all conditions.
This aspect is impossible with open-ended questions because each respondent is allowed to use his or her own words. Finally, closed-ended questions take less time to administer unlike open-ended questions, which are detailed hence time consuming.
The questionnaire will be sent to respondents using drop and pick method. The researcher arrived at this decision after considering time and resources. The method is time consuming, but very effective. Furth more, the method allows respondents to reflect on the questions and answer them accurately.
Moreover, the method is not affected by the respondent’s level of literacy. One big advantage of the technique is that there is interaction between the researcher and the researched.
This means that respondent’s reactions are easily captured. Reactions are important because they give more information regarding the feelings of respondents.
The literature collected provided information regarding various theories related to supply chain, which is spread across the last century. The body of literature availed a number of theories dealing with sampling and sample designs in the business world and performance issues in the context of human resource development in the supply chain industry.
This helps when determining the role of supply chain management in countering counterfeit products in the global market. Finally, the literature provided information on the state of research on the field. Various researchers have conducted studies on various elements of social crimes and its effects on motivation. This will give the study a sound academic backing and a strong basis for drawing comparisons and conclusions.
The use of the questionnaire made it possible to capture issues that are unique in this field. This is because there was not enough literature with required degree of relevance to the subject matter of countering counterfeit products through supply chain management.
The targeted respondents are expected to respond to the questionnaires, which will be physically delivered to them. The availability of respondents influenced the choice of this method because most of the respondents work in firms that operate throughout the day and therefore it is not possible at any one time to find all of them in one place.
Physical delivery of the questionnaire will increase the accuracy of data collected as there was interactivity (Leedy, 2010). After collection, the data will go through analysis, which will culminate in the observations and conclusions which will be discussed in chapter four and five of the dissertation respectively.
It is clear from the above discussion that there is need to conduct a comprehensive research on the role of supply chain management in helping to counter counterfeit products. In this research proposal, the scholar has stated the task ahead.
It is clear from the methodology stated in this proposal how the scholar intends to conduct this research. The scholar seeks to respond to the research question and hypothesis. It is hoped that through this research, it will be possible to make findings that will support the hypothesis set in this proposal.
List of References
Anderson, P 2004, Research Methods in Human Resource Management, Chattered institute of Personell Management, London.
Arlbjorn, J 2010, Supply chain management: sources for competitive advantages, Academica, Arhus.
Badenhorst, C 2007, Research writing: breaking barriers, Van Schaik Publishers, Pretoria.
Baily, C 1996, A guide to field research, Pine Forge Press, Thousand Oaks.
Hakim, C 2000, Research Design: Sucessful Designs for Social and Economic Research, Routledge, London.
Leedy, P 2010, Practical research: planning and design, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River.
Mentzer, J 2001, Supply chain management, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
Murray, R 2006, How to write a thesis, Open University Press, Philadelphia.
Staake, T & Fleisch, E 2008, Countering counterfeit trade: illicit market insights, best-practice strategies, and management toolbox, Springer, Berlin.
Struwig, F 2001, Planning, designing and reporting research, Pearson Education, Cape Town.
Taylor, G 2005, Integrating qualitative and quantitative methods in research, University Press of America, Lanham.
Wickham, S 1999, Towards a postgraduate identity: guidelines for MA and PhD supervisors and their students: workbook, Research and Academic Development, Cape Town.